Scott Dixon has been nominated for the prestigious Autosport International Racing Driver of the Year, the magazine’s highest accolade for any motor racing driver.
No New Zealander has ever won the award, and no non-Formula 1 driver has claimed the overall honour since 1993. The single-seater category has provided all but two of the winners since the award’s inception in 1982.
Dixon will be up against seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Formula E ace Antonio Felix da Costa.
In a championship as competitive as IndyCar, Dixon’s six series titles is a remarkable achievement.
His performances across the condensed 2020 championship were of impeccable form and this year saw the Kiwi win his 50th IndyCar race to put him third on the all-time winning list.
It could have very nearly been the perfect season for Dixon after he fell agonisingly short of winning his second Indy 500 crown. A rare strategic blunder by his Chip Ganassi Racing team saw him cycle behind eventual winner Takuma Sato who was able to nurse a drying fuel tank to the chequered flag.
Should Dixon claim the award, his name will be etched alongside the likes of Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell.
Unfortunately, given this was the same year that fellow nominee Hamilton claimed his record 92nd Grand Prix win and his seventh F1 crown, it will take something special for Dixon to come out trumps.
Nevertheless, being nominated for such a respected prize is something to applaud.
Verstappen and da Costa are the two outside contenders for the prize.
While indisputably fast, Verstappen has had a very inconsistent F1 season. Meanwhile, incumbent Formula E champion da Costa comprehensively defeated his competition last season. However, the smaller fan base of the all-electric formula puts him as an unlikely recipient.
Other awards include Moment of the Year, International Rally driver of the year and International Rider of the Year.